Empowering women entrepreneurs

It is now ten years since the government established the National Women’s Council (NWC) with the aim of empowering women.
A woman dispalys one of her products. The Sunday Times / File.
A woman dispalys one of her products. The Sunday Times / File.

It is now ten years since the government established the National Women’s Council (NWC) with the aim of empowering women.

The commission has played a significant role in promoting women entrepreneurs by enabling them access finance through Umurenge Sacco loan scheme.

The programme is one of the initiatives put in place to facilitate women or women groups implement their business plans.

 “With the help of this fund, I managed to secure a loan of Rwf 1.5 million. I am now paying and I am sure that I will have finished reimbursing it in three months,” said Alice Uwayezu.

 The mother and resident of Rweru Sector in Bugesera district, Eastern province said that she had tried with other financial institutions but failed to comply with their requirements to access a loan.

Uwayezu is not alone. Many people, including the youth, have been locked out of business due to lack of capital and limited access to finance.

“Recently, Parliament approved that a fund that has been covering 50 percent as a guarantee for women entrepreneurs, should now cover 75 percent,” reveals Christine Tuyisenge, the Executive Secretary of NWC.

She explained that currently, the institution is trying to identify more young entrepreneurs to benefit from the new programme.

The institution also supports 30 different women cooperatives each year to exhibit their products in the annual international expo.

This, according to NWC, aims at giving a chance to women entrepreneurs, not only to advertise or get customers, but also learn from other local and international exhibitors.

In the just concluded expo, representatives of women cooperatives who took part on the support of the NWC commended the initiative, saying they learnt a lot that will help them improve on the way they do business.

“It was the first time that our cooperative managed to take part in this expo and I want to assure you that it was such an exciting moment,” said Angelique Uwineza, head of ‘Nge nawe birashoboka’ Cooperative based in Rusizi District, Western Province.

She noted that it is easy to attract a customer, but keeping him or her depends on the quality of service provided.

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